As the sentencing of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning continues, a bit of sad hypocrisy from the military crept out today. As reported by Reuters:
Testifying for the prosecution, (Navy Commander Youssef) Aboul-Enein said al Qaeda used a video Manning had provided to WikiLeaks of a U.S. helicopter gunship in 2007 firing at suspected insurgents in Baghdad. A dozen people were killed, including two Reuters news staff.
Al Qaeda used the video to demonstrate to Muslims that “this could be your child,” Aboul-Enein said.
On the surface, a cynical person might point out the military is not saying the shooting of the child or the civilians was bad, just the releasing of the video showing the act. And since I’m cynical, I’m pointing that out.
But if a wounded or dead child is a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, then we must ask what has been more useful for the organization. Is the one video of a child being shot more effective than the children killed by drone strikes? We recently learned 94 children were confirmed to be killed by drones in Pakistan between 2006 and 2009 and the total number is likely close to 200 at this point.
And this is completely ignoring the larger number of civilians killed during the same time period.
If the military is going to convict and sentence one of its own based on the notion that the revealing of harm done to a child is a good recruiting tool for the enemy, then maybe it’s time the military reexamines how it is fighting the War on Terror. If that is not done, then this is simply hypocrisy at its worst and a long sentence (or any prison time at all) given to Manning will only exemplify that.